City of Stirling and major candidates pledge to tackle high unemployment

City of Stirling and major candidates pledge to tackle high unemployment

THE City of Stirling is supporting a plan to tackle high unemployment rates in Balga and Mirrabooka in the lead-up to the State Election.

Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman said a Labor Government would commit $250,000 to the Newcomer Workforce Participation Project, specifically to assist migrants to find work.

Unemployment in the Mirrabooka electorate is nearly 25 per cent compared to 5.9 per cent statewide, with 53 per cent of the population born overseas and 40 per cent speaking languages other than English at home.

Ms Freeman said under the project, the City of Stirling would undertake a pilot project and seek further funding based on results.

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“The model will facilitate structured partnerships with industry bodies, businesses and other employers to address high unemployment areas of Mirrabooka and Balga,” she said.

“The City of Stirling has the highest recently arrived overseas immigration population of any local government in WA; the model will match migrants with mentors from a wide range of professions.”

Stirling community services manager Chris Brereton said the City was already working with organisations to address “unacceptable” unemployment levels but wanted a further commitment from the State Government.

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“This would include funding towards organisations, support for programs to address core unemployment issues such as disadvantage, as well as overcoming barriers, including poor transportation options in the area,” he said.

Mr Brereton said the City was also seeking funding and support from the current State Government to implement the Newcomer Workforce Participation Project.

“This pilot program is based on a very successful Canadian model and is intended to run for three years to achieve substantive results,” he said.

“Research into the causes of unemployment would also assist in developing direct responses to some of the issues that have led to unemployment.”

Mirrabooka Greens candidate Rafeif Ismail said increased Tafe fees and funding cuts had hurt young job seekers.

“Tafe fees have increased by 500 per cent since 2013,” she said. “By investing in Tafe, we can offer further training and education for young workers.”

Ms Ismail said the Greens planned to support small business, complete public transport upgrades and undertake a renewable energy plan to create employment.

Liberal candidate Lily Chen said the party would “diversify” the economy by investing in job-building infrastructure, such as the Perth Stadium.

“As well as creating local jobs and boosting the local economy, these will continue to transform our state for the better,” she said.